3 Steps to Cope with Crazy: Simple Actions for when Life Overwhelms

Picture of the top of a child's head with bird poop on it. Life overwhelms.

There are times when life overwhelms us. We have a mound of laundry to do. The fridge is almost empty. Toys are strewn across floors that need vacuuming. Children need our attention. We have work to complete. There is some unexpected cr*p we need to deal with (see picture). And, we desperately want to sit down with some:

  • tea
  • coffee
  • wine
  • beer
  • chocolate

(circle all that apply)

When we talk about the importance of work life balance, we rarely account for the work that needs to get done at home, and our “break time” is sadly not a priority.

I do not have any answers, I wish I did. Nonetheless, I do have a strategy that helps me feel less overwhelmed on crazy days. Perhaps, this will help you too.

Step One

Choose ONE task.
Simple, right?

Choose ONE task.

Sometimes the choice is made for us;  the baby needs feeding, or the toddler is stuck in a cupboard. Other times we need to choose for ourselves; should I do the dishes or put the laundry on? Maybe I should run out and get groceries first.

There is no wrong choice - only a lack of decision. Click To Tweet

As soon as you know what you are going to do, life becomes simpler.

Step Two

Say it out loud (now).
Unfortunately, committing to action can be a struggle. This is where Step Two has your back.

Did you know that stating your intentions out loud causes other distractions fade away and reduces stress? I didn’t either but sometimes anything is worth a try! This is how it works:

Before washing the dishes state, “I am doing the dishes, now.” This is when you commit and everything else fades away. Importantly, talk like you are already doing the task. The same is true when the task chooses us; for example, the blanket fort has collapsed and your child needs (urgent) help. Calmly state, “I am helping you, now.” And that is it – you both feel better!

Step Three

Take action.
Sometimes there is a big, juicy distraction between us and the job at hand. To illustrate: the other day I opted to take a break but, out of the corner of my eye, could see vegetables waiting to be washed and chopped. It took a huge effort (well, not that big), to ignore them and finish pouring my cup of tea. The trick? When saying, “nowstep toward the task.

Do not deviate.

Do not look back.

Do not compromise.

Unless you hear urgent cries for help, in which case return to Step One!

CHOOSE ONE TASKSAY IT OUT LOUD (NOW)TAKE ACTION

(And repeat…)

[Note: This post was originally written for and published on my childcare blog.
It has been edited and reformatted for the new site.]

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